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Denise Frazier named City's top building official

Mike Conway

Post Date:04/02/2018

Denise Frazier named Chief Building/Construction Project Official

Denise Frazier has been named the Chief Building/Construction Project Official, overseeing the City of Merced's building permit process and its building inspectors and plan checkers.

Frazier has extensive experience in the field with Merced, Atwater and working on projects at the University of California, Merced.

'We're growing and it's exciting times and I want to build on that,' Frazier said.

'It's not business as usual here in the City, it's business is bustling,' Frazier said. 'There's a whole lot of talent, mixed with a whole lot of energy of the staff, all with a common focus of not only how to do we get this done, but how do we get this done better.'

She said the department is on track to issue 3,000 permits this year, something not seen in more than a decade. For perspective, this January and February the Department issued 110 permits for single family homes. Last year for the same period it issued 16 single-family permits.

'Denise is a great role model for employees in the division,' said Director of Development Services Scott McBride, who oversees her department. 'She worked her way up the ladder starting as a Permit Technician to now being the Building Official.  Along the way she continued to add to her skills and alibies by seeking out training and course work to help her advance.

'In addition to her work in the public sector she's also been involved in major construction projects as a project administrator for a contractor that helped build a portion of UC Merced,' McBride said. 'Given her broad range of experiences she can also relate to employees in the division and continue to be a mentor and leader to them.'

The increased workload has meant that the Department has streamlined its operations, improved its training and relied on outside consultants to do some of the work.

Electronic plan checking has also made the Department more effective and efficient. A contractor will submit the plans for a house via email, which is routed to all City Departments for review, and if all of the required information is included, the permit is issued quickly. If not, emails are exchanged and the additional information is sent in. Either way, no one has to lug up to 4 sets of bulky plans back and forth to City Hall during the review process to obtain the permit.

'I've had designers and contractors tell me that they wish everyone had electronic plan checking like we do because it is so easy,' she said. 'It saves those folks a lot of money and drive time. It's cheaper to shoot an email than pay someone to drive here several times.'

Frazier supervises the Inspection Services staff of four inspectors, two plan examiners and a temporary technician. She trains the plan review and counter staff and oversees updates on the fee schedule and web site.

One of her accomplishments was to develop the process and policy for the electronic plan review at the City. Frazier also started cross training staff to improve efficiency and coverage. She's on the multi-Departmental team that deals with blighted properties in the City.

Frazier has been serving as the acting assistant building official since September, 2017. She started with the City in November 2013 as a Plan Examiner I and was promoted to a Plan Examiner II in November 2015.

While working at UC Merced for McCarthy Building Companies, she was a project administrator working on the 35,000 sf Student Services building, the 19,000 sf Student Athletics Center and the 102,000 sf Science and Engineering building.

She worked for the City of Atwater from 1999 to 2007 as a building technician before becoming the deputy building official.

A native of North Dakota, she met her husband, Brian, when he was stationed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. The couple has two children in college, a daughter, Audrey, and a son, Conner.

In her spare time, Frazier likes to travel to state and national parks, camp, visit regional festival and fairs and pamper their two apricot poodles, Teddy and Molly.

The position pays $8,628.65 to $10,488.18 a month.

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